Jeremiah makes a historical parallel:
Although to be fair, the focus on Gu Kailai (or as CCTV keeps calling her, Bogu Kailai) seems awfully similar to the way women in Chinese history frequently get blamed for political disaster. I’m not saying Yang Guifei, Cixi, Jiang Qing, or Gu Kailai are innocent lambs, but when the same script gets used every time it’s hard not to wonder. As Hung Huang wrote on her Weibo account last night, “In China whenever men are bad, it’s the woman’s fault.”
The Gu narrative makes me think a bit of Empress Wu Zetian, combining as it does enthusiastic poisoning, male concubinage and the institution of an efficient police state under tyranny; which ties the whole thing back to Bo, his specific crime crackdown and his general demagoguery. You can certainly see how actual events can be shaped and possibly exaggerated to fit a historically resonant narrative. Me, I'm starting to think of her as the Chongqing Messalina.
More generally, Jeremiah comments:
The problem with rumors is that they’re usually not true. The problem with rumors in China is that people believe them anyway because most people know that the ‘state media’ is nothing but an enormous firehose of steaming donkey shit. The problem with rumors in China NOW is that rumors which at first glance seemed too crazy to be true turned out to be pretty accurate.
Last week the government made Sina, Baidu, and Tencent pull down their pants, lube up, and swear that they would help guide public opinion and participate in the fight against the spreading of online rumors. Good luck with that. At this point Boxun could run a photo of Wen Jiabao dressed in a gimp costume dipping chunks of Mao’s corpse in gutter oil hotpot while singing “American Pie”, and people are going to say, “Well, that shit about Wang Lijun was nuts, but look how that turned out. I dunno, this could be true as well…”
Maybe, but it’s the classic ‘all Cretans are liars, said the Cretan’ problem. When one unreliable source is backed by another, you don’t get confirmation so much as radical uncertainty. First the people at the dissident site Boxun say something, people who clearly have an agenda; then the CPC’s indictment repeats a lot of what Boxun says: and those guys definitely have an agenda. There are truth commodities floating round in all of this or Wang wouldn’t have done his flit. But these are lying around waiting to be used at points of maximum advantage, and made to carry the freight of many pre-existing agendas. Hence, perhaps these responses to the affair compiled by Tea Leaf Nation:
“My conclusion is that history is written by the victors. But in order to completely wreck your political future they must also pin you with a crime that’s not too big and not too small. This is how the plot goes.
“Us poor plebians, what can we do aside from wishing the country a prosperous future? … Focus first on buying a house and getting a wife, hehe!”
Incidentally, another rumour source in the Bo affair could have been US State Department sources based on what they were told by Wang Lijun. After all, it provided a tremendous opportunity to get some leverage and maybe make some allies in internal CPC politicking . I bet the neo-Maoist sites would be saying this if they were currently allowed to publish. They might not be far wrong, either. They must have got some great stuff from Wang. It would almost be a dereliction of duty not to use it.